On March 9th, the world celebrated the Brooklyn native, Notorious BIG’s 19th year death anniversary. While we don’t have the rapper in physical form, his legacy still lives on! Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Notorious BIG became the king of his borough, leaving an influential precedent to Brooklyn art natives!
As Hip Hop fans nationwide mourns the death of Biggie each year on March 9th, Brooklyn however, brings the beauty out of it. Every year on the passing of the greatest rapper, there’s a Notorious Cypher held in his hometown. Fans gather at the monumental building where he lived to take pictures as local artists freestyles at the corner where Biggie has discovered rapping at the age of 17.
Unexpectedly, I engaged with the founder of The Notorious Cypher, who’s an emcee herself name Shapri! She summed up how it all started, the growth and where she hopes it takes off in the future.
“In 2011, I spent a lot of time with the albums Ready To Die and Life After Death. Biggie, with his smart ass mouth and passionate flows, put me in an emotional space. Although I had never been a young black boy growing up in a one-parent home, I knew exactly what that felt like. I knew what it felt like to completely disregard everything my moms taught me and dismantle my neighborhood by selling crack to pregnant neighbors all in the name of being the flyest nigga on the block and getting my daughter that college plan, so she don’t need no man.
I was inspired, so I reached out to fellow event curators, Mojo Disco and Scott Morris to manifest the dream and it was lit.
The very first Notorious Cypher was on March 9th,2012 in Union Square and it attracted at least 100 emcees and better from all over the city; hungry, ready to drop bars. From the likes of Frank McFly to Leon Marin, Chris Wise, Ronnie Brown and the young God, Capital Steez with his Pro Era crew. Joey BadA$$, Kirk Knight, Dyemond Lewis, Dirty Sanchez all stood in the circle dropping lines of experience before I would see them on MTV2 in the following May.
Honestly, that inspired me again. I was like yo, I have to do this again and again, because NYC is the home of this hip-hop shit, and whether we are mainstream or not, we should always keep our culture alive.
So year after year I’ve hosted the Notorious Cypher, and it’s gotten better and better, last night was the 5th annual celebration, hosted at Five Spot Soul Food on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and while we had a bit of a hard time delivering the energy inside of the establishment, of course, hip hop took itself back to its roots and we posted on a stoop where emcees cyphed, and battled, blew trees and spread love; The Brooklyn Way.
I envision such a bright future for TNC. Every year, it shows me that there hundreds of young black boys and girls who are starving for a platform, waiting for the moment to celebrate this culture that started on the plantation with improvised field songs. Nothing is more rewarding than the moments when emcees walk up to me and thank me for the opportunity as if the pleasure isn’t mine. Next year I hope that we find another stoop to posting on, and paparazzi finds us there to share our story.”
Here’s the first The Notorious Cypher held in 2012 featuring Captial Steez, Joey BadA$$ and many more!
Stay updated on the yearly Notorious Cyphers or other dope events at www.Shapri .com or follow her on Instagram @shesshapri